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Enlightened by Love and Sacrifice: An excerpt from Leaving Buddha

The Tenzin Lahkpa Story

In this excerpt from Leaving Buddha, Tenzin Lahkpa, formerly a Buddhist monk, recalls his first introduction to Jesus the Messiah.


Tenzin Lahkpa and Eugene Bach, Leaving Buddha: A Tibetan Monk’s Encounter with the Living God (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2019), 206 pages, ISBN 9781641231022.
Read the review by John Lathrop.
Read the introduction from Eugene Bach, “The Tenzin Lahkpa Story.”

A Christian Family Member


“Yes?” I responded to the unknown voice yelling down the corridor after me.

“There is someone outside looking for you.”

I ended my meditation, stood up, and walked to the door. As I stepped outside, I saw a kind-looking young man, a little older than I, pacing around.

“Tenzin?” he said as soon as he saw me. I nodded.

“I’m Peema. Your uncle told me that you have been looking for us.”

“Ahh…so good to see you. My uncle told me that I had family living here, but I didn’t even know where to start. I was told that your family was living in Dharamsala. I asked around about you, but no one knew where you were.”

“Yes, we used to live in Dharamsala, but we moved to America a year ago.”

“I heard that you are a monk.”

“I used to be, but not anymore.”

I pulled my head back in surprise. “Not anymore? What happened? Did you decide you needed a wife?” I asked jokingly. Marriage was the number-one killer of monastic living.

“Not exactly,” he said a bit sheepishly. “Do you care to take a walk?”


Peema and I strolled down the side of the mountain from the mon­astery. There wasn’t really anywhere to walk to, but taking a walk in the shadow of the mountains and away from the listening ears of other monks seemed to be what my relative wanted to do.

“My family is living in America and they really like it a lot. America is nothing like Tibet or India. Everything there is so much better. Everyone has a car, a house, and a mobile phone.”

“How did you get to go to America?” I asked.

“We were invited by a Christian man. Their church sponsored our visa and have helped us.”

“Christian?” I had heard the word before. I knew that it was the reli­gion of Westerners but didn’t know anything about it.

“Yes. There was an American who came to Dharamsala and told us about Jesus. We listened to him, and what he had to say changed our lives forever. We have never been happier, and we are doing better than any generation before us.”

I was shocked at what he was saying. Although I didn’t know much about the religion of the Christians, I did know that Tibetans hated their religion. Even Hindus, who recognize almost every god under the sun, hate Christians.

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Category: Fall 2019, Living the Faith

About the Author: Tenzin Lahpka (a pseudonym) was a Buddhist monk in Tibet before he had a life-changing encounter with Jesus and became his follower. With Eugene Bach, he wrote Leaving Buddha: A Tibetan Monk’s Encounter with the Living God.

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